Patients often look to file a lawsuit when medical treatment or a procedure does not end up with the result that they intended. Often, when a patient is injured, they will automatically claim that the doctor was to blame. While this is often the case, there is a legal process and test that comes first before a jury will find that the doctor was negligent. The process and test are where you need a medical malpractice lawyer.
What Mistakes Are Considered Malpractice
The legal definition of medical malpractice is when a doctor or a hospital causes an injury to a patient through a negligent act or omission. Malpractice can take place during:
- Medical procedures
- Health management
The Legal Test for Medical Malpractice
Any medical malpractice case will use the standard four-part negligence test that applies to any personal injury case. Specifically, you would need to prove the following:
- The doctor owed you a duty of care (this is usually not at issue).
- The doctor breached the duty of care by acting unreasonably.
- You suffered an injury.
- You would not have been injured had it not been for the doctor's acts or omissions.
Medical malpractice does not occur in a vacuum. The doctor's actions are not looked at entirely on their own to determine whether the doctor is liable. Of course, a jury will scrutinize what the doctor did in the lead-up to the injury. However, they will compare it to what another doctor would have done under the circumstances.
The main test for negligence was whether the doctor acted reasonably under the circumstances. The jury would not second guess the doctor, but it would look very closely at everything that the doctor did. It would then consider whether it was reasonable. Every negligence case looks at the “reasonable person” standard, and a medical malpractice case is no different.
How to Prove Medical Malpractice
In case you are wondering how a jury knows what a reasonable doctor does, this is established through expert testimony. There is a generally accepted level of medical care under the circumstances. While doctors may make their own treatment decisions that could differ from each other, there is a general understanding of what not to do in every circumstance. Your lawyer would reconstruct what happened and compare it to what would be reasonable and acceptable medical care. In a medical malpractice case, the doctor has departed from this standard at some point.
These are very detailed and involved cases. You need an experienced attorney who knows how to work with medical experts and argue your case. Not everyone has the expertise to handle a medical malpractice case.
Charleston Medical Malpractice Attorneys
The medical malpractice attorneys at The Hopkins Law Firm have decades of legal experience helping clients with medical malpractice cases. If you or a loved one have been injured, we can put our knowledge and willingness to fight for you. Call us today at (843) 314-4202 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation.
What happens when a doctor is negligent?
You can recover your damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit when you can prove your case.
How do I prove that a doctor was negligent?
You must show that they acted in a manner that a reasonable doctor would not have.
How can I prove my medical malpractice case?
Usually, your lawyer would work with expert witnesses to go over your medical treatment to prove that the doctor acted unreasonably.